Feria de Valladolid Invites
Location Professionals to Fall in Love
with Spain


LMGI MEMBER CONTRIBUTORS:
David Park, USA; Joe Abel, USA; Markus Bensch, Germany;
Ravi Dubé, Romania, Robbie Boake, Northern Ireland/UK


Gran Canaria. Photo by David Park/LMGI

Photo by Ravi Dubé/LMGI

The Spain Film Commission hosted more than 35 location managers and scouts in its northwest city of Valladolid at the first-ever Shooting Locations Marketplace (SLM). The two-day October event introduced location professionals from the UK, Germany, Spain, Italy, Romania, the United States and Canada to more than 30 film commissioners throughout Spain, Portugal, Belgium and Greece in a unique and engaging way. 

“The experience was, to say the least, exhilarating!” exclaims LM Joe Abel/LMGI. “The format itself was a novel idea. Usually at these functions, we are lining up at various booths and exhibits to meet with film commissions and are lucky to get a couple minutes of one-on-one time. At the Shooting Locations Marketplace, we each had our own table and the film commissions booked appointments with us in 10- to 15-minute blocks.” The event started with a keynote presentation by Dow Griffith/LMGI on his own career history and the rise of international production. Panels featured speakers such as Adrian Wootton, the CEO of the British Film Commission, Venia Vergou from the Hellenic Film Commission, and Sara Hernandez from the European Film Commissions Network (EUFCM).

Photo by Ravi Dubé/LMGI

Gran Canaria. Photo by David Park/LMGI

After the event, those who could stay were invited to select from several Fam Tours to different regions in Spain—each multi-day excursion designed to showcase the beauty, wonder and unlimited filming possibilities of each area.

“The tour was everything a location scout dreams of,” enthuses David Park/LMGI of his trip to Gran Canaria and Fuerteventura. “Our hosts and film commissioners were all so friendly, entertaining and informative. They set up action-packed itineraries that allowed us to just shoot pictures. What a luxury it was to not have to plan each day and worry about all of the logistics of scouting and just focus on the craft!”

Joe Abel describes the “lush greens, mountain and desert landscapes, cityscapes and sand dunes of Gran Canaria, whose peaks rose up from the clouds almost beckoning us to land!” 

Fuerteventura. Photo by David Park/LMGI

“After Gran Canaria, we hopped over to Fuerteventura. This island is the first of the Canary Islands to rise from the ocean, and it lets you know it. Proud peaks, pristine waters and the scars of volcanoes remind you of the life this island has had. Rife with Spanish history and charming villages, this place had me beckoning for more. Puerto de la Cruz and Cotillo are a MUST-SEE.  If you’re looking for Mars, this is the place. If you’re looking for a sleepy coastal village, this is the place. Dunes? They’ve got it. Desert oasis? C’mon down! Fuerteventura is definitely a must-see.”

“Some productions to have come through to showcase the island are Foundation, Eternals, Wonder Woman 1984 and Solo: A Star Wars Story,” adds Park. “The island shows great support for filming with a strong film commission, production services and crew.”

Robbie Boake/LMGI Photo by John Rakich/LMGI

Robbie Boake/LMGI, who opted for the Valencia/Costa Blanca Fam Tour notes: “Having scouted Ireland since 2006, my visual palette was filled with misty green landscapes, castles and coastlines, so I hoped that Spain would throw a healthy dose of orange and red into my mix. It’s difficult to choose among scores of the beautiful places I saw, but I’ll say Xixona was certainly one of the highlights because I got those reds and oranges I needed in droves! What got me about the trip was just how much is on offer in Spain. The true dedication to art, form, architecture and history just spills over into the camera wherever you aim it.” 

Dubé recalls traveling “through the province of Castilla y Leon visiting lakes, mountains, waterfalls and villages lost in the hills, historic cities with ancient universities, cathedrals and palaces. We even ended up in 1890’s America when we visited the site of Sad Hill Cemetery.” 

Sad Hill. Photo by Markus Bensch/LMGI

Built in 1966, the iconic film set for Sergio Leone’s The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, with its 5,000 made-for-camera graves, had become overgrown, its crosses long gone and cows roaming across the site. Its recent reconstruction by dedicated fans was recorded in the recent Netflix documentary Sad Hill Unearthed and it is now a major tourist attraction and economic engine for the area.

Markus Bensch/LMGI elaborates, “It was a warm and sunny Sunday afternoon when our group finally arrived at Sad Hill Cemetery. About half a dozen vultures circled overhead, an image that could not have been more fitting for our visit.

“Shortly before, our coach had been held up by a scruffy-looking man wearing a poncho. It turned out this bad hombre was our guide to one of the most famous shooting locations in the history of western films—from the climactic ending of the western classic. 

“Our visit at Sad Hill went full circle as we happened to have location manager Patrick Mignano/LMGI with us,” continues Bensch. “Patrick has been Clint Eastwood’s ‘go to’ location manager since Gran Torino. Once Patrick put the famous poncho on and somebody played the signature tune of the film on his phone, we were not in Castilla y Leon anymore—we had time traveled to New Mexico in 1862. 

“This is what all of us are aiming for: finding, prepping and managing a location which not only works for a particular film, but turns out to be a pilgrimage site for film lovers for decades to come,” muses Bensch.

“This is what a great filming location can do to you, even if you are a hardened professional and you think that you have seen everything already! Great filming locations transcend time and place.”

Photo courtesy of Karen Salva

In Salamanca, Dubé took in the “incredible streets dating from the 15th century with fantastic buildings and churches and every now and again, a glimpse of a magnificent cathedral looming over us. Our guide took us into one of the oldest universities in the world which still had the original benches and tables. What a place! Busy and vibrant with a history stretching back more than 700 years. Finally, we ended up in the walled city of Avila!

Dow Griffith/LMGI

“We were very well looked after with multi-course lunches and dinners in unique spaces. Throughout the trip, we spent a lot of time talking and thinking about location matters and nearly the same amount of time discussing and pondering the rich menus which were presented twice a day.”

“Spain, Spain, Spain. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways!” ponders Abel. Concludes Dubé, “A great country with many, many location possibilities, a government which is positive and embarrassingly helpful and a healthy filming incentive. What more could you want?” 

22/10/2021. Feria Shooting Location Marketplace. A.MINGUEZA